Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell Health System was recognized as one of the 35 healthiest employers in the Charlotte region by the Charlotte Business Journal in its tenth annual Healthiest Employers of Greater Charlotte Awards.

Assigned a score based on surveys about its health and wellness program, Iredell Health System ranked 7th among employers with between 500 and 1,499 employees.

“Iredell Health System is continually working to promote a healthy lifestyle among its employees,” said Cindy Smale, Iredell Health System’s human resources director. “As a healthcare organization, it is our job to inspire wellness in the community and be a guiding light for our citizens’ health. As we model those behaviors in everything we do, it is undeniably important for us to inspire wellness within our team members, and that is exactly what we do.”

After the Charlotte Business Journal received nominations for the program from organizations across a variety of industries, nominees were evaluated based on company culture, leadership, strategic planning, communication, and programming, among other topics.

As other health systems have been forced to lay off or eliminate staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Iredell Health System has not only kept its entire workforce but has implemented innovative ways to keep them healthy and engaged.

Iredell Health System was nominated before the onset of the pandemic. The award reflects the preparatory importance of wellness programs focused on physical, financial, mental, emotional, and social health of employees. Iredell’s offices have remained open; its staff have remained employed; and its patients have continued to receive the care they need.

Seeking to establish a system that would foster fun competition and challenge employees to take ownership of their own health, Iredell Health System began partnering with Humana-Go365 in
2019 to implement a new wellness program. The initiative has led to health improvements for team members, encouraging them to improve their health and enabling them to earn discounts on health insurance premiums.

The health system continues to provide annual biometric screenings for employees that produce detailed reports team members can reference and share with their medical providers.

Based on screening outcomes – including body mass index, blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, and metabolic risk – employees can earn a substantial number of points toward achieving the highest discount on insurance premiums. During the year, employees can then earn points by addressing identified risk factors, participating in recommended activities, and completing medical check-ups.

Iredell Health System formed an internal wellness team of employee volunteers to promote wellness events and competitions. Consisting of employees in various departments, the wellness team promotes the wellness program companywide, leverages resources to hold onsite employee screenings, promotes healthy cafeteria meals, and coordinates company-sponsored food donations, 5Ks, volunteer events, and mindfulness challenges. Many of the events are open to the local community and raise donations given to local food drives or charities such as the Iredell Health System Mammogram Fund, which provides free mammograms to women without health insurance.

The wellness team provides individual member support and establishes companywide walking clubs that accommodate an organization with many departments and shifts.

To help lower-income employees earn more points through walking and other activities, the health system used wellness dollars it received from its health insurance plan to purchase 250 tracking devices the employees could purchase for $20.

“Our team has revamped our employee wellness program entirely to provide an excellent variety of opportunities for our employees that focus on the different abilities and interests of our varied workforce,” said Iredell Health System President and CEO John Green. “While we have found activity-based events in a team setting are really successful, we also know it is very important to recognize that everyone has different individual needs and challenges, and we are progressively working to meet those needs. It is exciting to see personal success stories of significantly improved health measures and lifestyles.”

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital; Iredell Home Health; Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center; Community and Corporate Wellness; Occupational Medicine; the Iredell Physician Network and more. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only nonprofit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247 beds; more than 1,700 employees; and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s; Cardiovascular; Cancer; Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit www.iredellhealth.org.

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